If I could Curse
I vividly remember learning to write cursive in elementary school. I had the practice sheets that showed in what direction the pencil needed to move. I loved the guide-lines and design. It looked so cool to me. However, when it came to actually write the letters on my own... well that's where the difficulty started. A letter on its own isn't a horrible thing. But trying to make sense of letters that looked nothing like their print counterparts really was difficult for me. I mean, an upper-case "G" looks nothing like the letter G in print. Let alone an upper-case "Q" or "Z". Trying to wrap my head around that was difficult. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to write in that style.
To make matters more difficult I broke my collar bone in the middle of learning to write cursive. That means that my dominant hand was no longer able to be used for writing. My already difficult-to-read handwriting became a total monstrosity when I had to try to write using my left (non-dominant) hand.
I remember getting comments and marks from the teacher that made it look like a case that Criminal Minds should investigate. There was so much red on the paper that I'm sure, had it been a biological entity, it would have exsanguinated long ago. Let's just say the sanguine marks and the difficulty I had in translating one style of writing to another made me HATE writing in cursive. All through high school, anything that was handwritten was always sent back to me because my writing wasn't neat (of this, I will agree).
Luckily, I lived in an era when computers were just hitting the scene and typing saved my academic life. However, learning to type was a whole other scenario worthy of another post (look for that in the future).
Because of all this, you might think (as I certainly did), that I never would want to mess with cursive again. I know my cursive is atrocious and I generally avoid it.
So why, would I ever dip my toe back into those waters?
Learning to Curse-ive (again)
I've always been jealous of the fancy script writing that our forefathers mastered. The handwriting seen used by Benjamine Franklin, or civil war soldiers in letters to their loved ones. Their fancy script, always so neat and with flourishes and embellishments that make the letters seem timeless. I desperately wanted, and still do, to possess the ability to write in a way that is not only neat and clean, but beautiful.
Thus begins my quest. I researched and looked up many different styles of cursive. I had no idea there were so many different ways to write. Some of them are quite similar while others really look almost like an alien language compared to the others. In doing my research I came across the one I decided to learn. Spencerian script. It was both neat and possessed the neat flourishes that I so enjoy.
Picking up my fountainpen and putting it to paper reminded me of my time as a child, sitting in a classroom... frustrated... and lacking the skill to make it look the way it should.
This time it was different. Because, this time, I was taking on the task I wanted to complete. It wasn't something I "Had" to do because a teacher told me I had to do it. The inner drive to learn burns strong in me and this is something I wanted to learn.
I know that there is currently a debate about the necessity of learning cursive in school. To be honest, I lean on the side of: it shouldn't be mandatory but an elective. Let those who are truly interested take it on and those who don't spend their time doing other more meaningful things. This post isn't about that debate. It's about learning.
What I've learned
I am still learning how to write in the Spencerian style. It's quite difficult and the only way to improve is through massive amounts of practice. What I have learned through this process is that it take time, commitment and dedication to truly master this style (as I am certain it does for just about anything you want to accomplish with automaticity).
I've also witnessed the improvement of certain letters with time. I keep a journal in which I practice the letters and It is amazing to see them actually get better as time goes on. I am only up to the letter "G" at the moment. I haven't even begun to try to string the letters together yet in a smooth script. However, I know that day will come.
What I've learned most is something my 12th-grade journalism and theory of knowledge teacher wrote for me in my yearbook. She said: "I hope you have learned that good things come from challenging oneself".
Thank you, Ms. Savageau. I have learned that lesson well and now I can curse-ive with the best of them.
What is your curse?
Is there anything that you hated or disliked learning as a child that you have taken on as an adult? What did you not like that you now want to try to improve? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments.